National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
News & Events
Major Solar Flare Erupts, More Possible
Major Solar Flare Erupts, More Possible
29 Mar 2001
(Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)


Media Contact:
Barbara McGehan
NOAA Space Environment Center, Boulder, Colo.
(303) 497-6288

After four months of minimal activity, the sun is again waking up. It produced a major solar flare today at 5:15 a.m. EST, according to NOAA's Space Environment Center in Boulder, Colo. The flare emerged from one of the largest sunspot areas of the sun to erupt in more than a decade. As a result of this event, a strong radio blackout (R3 on NOAA's space weather scales) also occurred at 5:15 a.m. EST. Category R3 radio blackouts adversely affect high-frequency radio communications and low-frequency navigation signals on the sunlit side of the Earth. In addition, aurora borealis, or northern lights, may be visible along the northern tier of the U.S. over the weekend.

Forecasters also expect geomagnetic storms reaching minor to isolated severe levels (G1 to G3 on the space weather scales) to occur during March 30-April 1 as a result of recent Earth-directed coronal mass ejections.

According to NOAA space weather forecasters, the sun has been showing signs of increased activity in recent weeks. The sun goes through 11-year cycles of activity and right now it's in the period of high activity called solar maximum.

Relevant Web Sites

News Archive Search  Go!
Show  results per page
Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writers: Courtney O'Connor and Bill Dunford
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 5 Jun 2001